Grilled rice paper with fermented shrimp paste (or Bánh tráng mắm ruốc nướng) is one of the most famous street foods in the beautiful coastal Phan Thiet city which is known as the city of specialty foods. Visiting Phan Thiet, travelers should not miss the amazing Grilled rice paper with fermented shrimp paste which has a typical taste and smell.
The food is made from rice paper, fermented shrimp paste (Mắm ruốc or Mam ruoc), boiled chicken/quail egg, fermented pork roll, Vietnamese pork roll, green onion oil, chili paste, pickles, shredded cabbage, butter, etc. Each vendor has his own combination of ingredients and own way to grill the cake. However, the rice paper which is crispy after grilling and the typical smell and taste of the fermented shrimp paste are the most important. These two ingredients make the cake different from similar foods such as Grilled girdle cake in Dalat and Saigon. The cook should use enough Mam ruoc so that the food is not too salty and does not smell too strongly. The rice paper is thin so that it turns crispy easily. The rice paper includes sesame so that it is very smelling and nice looking.
To make the cake, cover a piece of rice paper with a thin layer of Mam ruoc, then other ingredients. Put the rice paper with toppings onto a grill on charcoal. They use 2 long iron chopsticks to grill the food. The cook must be skillful enough to roll the rice paper with other ingredients into a nice looking roll when grilling. One chopstick is put inside the roll to keep it, the other is used to roll. If the cook rolls the rice paper too early, it will not crispy. Otherwise, the rice paper will be too crispy and easily broken. A few vendors do not roll the rice paper but wrap it into a semicircle section.
The food is extremely crispy and melts in your mouth right after eating. It has 4 tastes: salty, sweet, sour and hot tastes. The oily green onion, greasy butter, hot chili paste and fermented shrimp paste play off sweet and sour fermented pork roll, buttery egg yolk, tender egg white. Grilled rice paper with fermented shrimp paste in Phan Thiet is a distinct recipe which can satisfy any difficult diner. Phan Thiet people have mixed successfully all of the familiar ingredients to create an amazing street food.
Read more about What to eat in Phan Thiet?